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Flyers roll in season opener, but lose quarterback

Normally, University of Dayton football coach Rick Chamberlin would be feeling pretty good when his starting quarterback is cheering on the sidelines in the second half, but that really wasn’t the case at Welcome Stadium on Saturday.

The Flyers had a three-touchdown lead, but four-year starter Alex Jeske was dressed in street clothes with a brace on his right knee after being knocked out of the game in the first quarter of Dayton’s 49-28 season opening win over Robert Morris.

Jeske was driving Dayton to a third touchdown when he went down at the 5-yard line and stayed down. He walked off the field under his own power and went from crutches in the first half to a knee brace after halftime.

Jeske was nearly perfect before the injury, completing 6-of-7 passes as the Flyers rolled down the field on their first two possessions.

Tucker Yinger got the scoring started with a 44-yard sprint to the end zone on the fourth play of the game. It was the start of a big day for the senior running back, who rushed for 139 yards on 11 carries on the day.

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The Colonials tied the game with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Walker to Matthew Gonzalez, but Jeske matched that with a 31-yard strike to Alex Trautman. The 6-foot-6 tight end caught a short pass, put a move on the Robert Morris safety, and cruised in for the go-ahead score.

Back-up quarterback Jack Cook didn’t miss a beat coming off the bench. The redshirt freshman threw a 64-yard TD pass to Ryan Skibinski as the Flyers bolted to a 28-14 lead at halftime. He also scored on a 3-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Richie Warfield had a career day. The redshirt freshman running back ran for two touchdowns and caught a 20-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

Next up for Dayton is the first of back-to-back road games. The Flyers are at Southeast Missouri next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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